A Falkirk charity helping victims of domestic abuse has been given extra funding to help it cope with an increase in people coming forward for help.
Members of Falkirk Council’s scrutiny committee heard that the £45,000 extra funding became vital as the increase in clients had led to longer waits for people seeking help.
Committed to Ending Abuse (CEA) – formerly known as Falkirk and District Women’s Aid – saw an 8% increase in referrals in 20/21, taking the total to 814.
That followed a 17.7% rise in referrals in 2019/20.
Presenting the report to councillors, Joanna Stewart said that they were still seeing people come forward after the pandemic looking for support.
She said: “It would be fair to say that there is still an ongoing recovery, with victims coming to the service after a period of time, when they have felt very much trapped in an abusive relationship.
“As a consequence, the organisation has seen a year on year increase in caseloads and although the rise in numbers this year has not been as significant as in previous years we are still seeing an impact on that ongoing rise and it has put significant strains on the organisation.”
She said that in light of the increase in referrals CEA had been awarded the extra funding to allow them to continue to deliver services.
With the increase in clients, the time clients were waiting for their first appointment had increased from one day to four days and the funding helped to reduce that.
A review of domestic abuse services in Falkirk is currently underway which Ms Stewart said had made “significant progress over the last six months”.
Falkirk Council gives £175,800 to CEA every year which accounts for 51% of the organisations overall funding in 2020/21.
The report to the scrutiny committee told councillors that CEA had received excellent feedback from previous inspections about the support and care it’s specialist services provided.
Ms Stewart added that the charity would continue to work with those who are deeply affected by domestic abuse in the Falkirk area despite the difficult circumstances.
She said: “As we enter another period of uncertainty with the cost of living crisis, the organisation will have another challenge ahead to support their service users through the anxieties of that period.
“However, we’re confident that their support and assistance – as always – will go above and beyond to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are supported.”